Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Tuna

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This Italian recipe for stuffed baked tomatoes with tuna is not only easy but delicious too! If you like healthy Italian recipes, you’ll definitely love this one.  

Since these tomatoes, also called pomodori ripeieni di tonno are baked and served warm, it makes a delightful and refreshing dish anytime of the year.

baked stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Tuna

Stuffed baked tomatoes with tuna is very similar to traditional stuffed tomatoes Sicilian style. However, in this recipe we add in tuna which the Sicilian style stuffed tomato omits and relies solely on anchovies for the meat.

This version of stuffed tomatoes is not served cold, but warm. It’s quite flexible; you can add or remove ingredients to suit your own tastes and quantities can be adjusted to accommodate larger servings.

A note about measurements

The measurements I’m providing are enough for one large tomato that can be cut in half for two servings. Since my husband isn’t a fan of stuffed tomatoes, I bake a single large tomato (about 3.5” wide), halved in two, which is perfect for a light meal even when I don’t have any additional sides.

Simply double the recipe to accommodate more servings.

Let’s talk about the specific ingredients you need.

Ingredients Needed

ingredients for stuffed baked tomatoes with tuna

For specific measurements scroll down to the actual recipe card at the end of this post. But I do recommend reading my notes first.

Tomato

Larger tomatoes such as beefsteak fresh tomatoes are great. It doesn’t need to be a meaty type of tomato, but it is helpful if the tomato is slightly underripe. This helps it keep its shape while baking in the oven. We’ll use the tomato pulp as part of the filling, so don’t toss it away.

Olive Oil

Use extra virgin olive oil for maximum flavor. We use the olive oil throughout the recipe, not just once.

Canned Tuna (albacore)

I recommend using a good quality can of tuna. Albacore tuna is the best in my opinion, and has become the only type of tuna we purchase anymore. Regular tuna just falls apart and is often mushy or watery in consistency. This is not ideal for certain tuna recipes. This has been our experience, and is why we use albacore.

Anchovies

I use anchovies packed in olive oil, but any kind will do. I use it sparingly in this baked recipe. If you’re not a fan of anchovies, just omit it. I have a section below about using anchovies in this recipe, so I recommend you read it if you’re unfamiliar with them.

Onion

Use a white or yellow onion, although I’m sure red would taste good too. I think a vidalia onion which has a mild and slightly sweet flavor works very well. This is one of the ingredients you can be flexible with.

Parsley

You can use either Italian parsley or regular curly parsley. Either is fine.

Breadcrumbs

Here is another ingredient that you can adjust how much you use. Not only do breadcrumbs make a fantastic filler, but we also use them to create a crispy topping on the baked tomatoes.

I use regular homemade breadcrumbs and there is no need to toast them. If you don’t have any handy, just grab a few pieces of bread and run them through the blender with a few pulses.

Salt and pepper

This is optional and you don’t have to add any salt or pepper if you prefer not to.

A Note about Using Tuna and Anchovies

using anchovies
For this recipe, we use only a few fillets.

Both tuna and anchovies are used in quite a bit of Italian cuisine. After all, so much of Italy is surrounded by water in the Mediterranean, so it’s no surprise these go hand in hand. 

Regarding the anchovies, most people either love or hate them. I think it all depends on how they’re used. Even though both my husband and I are Italian, neither of us really grew up eating them.

However, I couldn’t resist using them this time because I think they add a nice depth to the baked tomatoes, and well… it’s just something different than the standard baked tuna and tomato recipe.

The thing to remember is that anchovies taste very different when cooked, vs straight from the can.

The flavor of anchovies when cooked turns from overpoweringly fishy to an umami flavor. Umami is a flavor used to describe Japanese cooking. I find it takes away some of the refreshing aspects of the baked tuna.

If you don’t like this flavor, don’t use anchovies. Your stuffed tomatoes and tuna recipe will still be delicious!

Have I turned you off yet? I hope not!

If you’ve never had anchovies, give it a try or just add a few roughly chopped anchovies to one of your tomatoes to test it out first.

How to Make Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

As mentioned, this recipe is super flexible. Follow along as I step you through making my delicious baked stuffed tomatoes.

hollow out the tomatoes

Prepare the Tomatoes

Start by cutting the large tomatoes in half so you have two tomato halves. Then scoop out the inside of the tomatoes using a spoon making sure not to break or tear the outer flesh. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away any inner parts that are hard to scoop out.

strain tomato pulp add to bowl

Strain the pulp, then chop into small pieces and place in a medium size bowl along with the tomato juices. This bowl is where we will mix the tuna mixture.

saute the onions

Chop and sauté the onions

Meanwhile, add olive oil to a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Chop the onion finely and add to the pan. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes until translucent, making sure not to brown.

While the onions are sauteing, prepare the following ingredients.

tuna stuffing mixture

Chop the parsley

Chop the parsley into small pieces and add to the bowl.

Add the anchovies and tuna

I used half a can of anchovies – about 4-6 fillets. It comes to about 1 Tablespoon. Roughly chop them and add to the bowl with the rest of the tuna stuffing.

Add the can of tuna

Drain the can of tuna, then combine the tuna with the other ingredients. Make sure to break up any large chunks. Don’t worry if some of the tuna juice gets in the bowl. We don’t need to be super picky.

Add the breadcrumbs

Remember, the breadcrumbs don’t need to be pre-toasted. Add the breadcrumbs and keep some aside for the topping.

mix with onions

Mix the tuna stuffing and saute with onions

At this point add a dash of salt and pepper if using, then add the tomato and tuna mixture to the onions. Sauté for a minute or two. This is your stuffing for the baked tomatoes.

stuff tomatoes with tuna mixture

Stuff tomatoes with tuna mixture

In an oven-proof baking pan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to coat the bottom. Fill the hollow tomatoes with the mixture and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of each tomato.

Drizzle some more olive oil over the top to coat the breadcrumbs. This helps them crisp up too.  Don’t worry if it runs down the sides, this will only add more flavor when baked!

bake in the oven

Bake the stuffed tomatoes in the oven

Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. If the breadcrumbs are not crispy at this point, but the stuffed tomato is baked, then place under a broiler for no more than 1 minute. Be careful not to burn!

Serve warm. See my side dish recommendations below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make baked stuffed tomatoes ahead of time?

Yes, you can stuff the tomatoes a day before baking. Increase the cooking time by 10 minutes to account for the ingredients being colder from the refrigerator. Make sure to store the stuffed tomatoes in an air tight container.

Can I use another meat instead of tuna?

Yes, you can substitute canned chicken for the tuna. Follow the same process but omit the anchovies.

Can I freeze stuffed tomatoes?

I would not recommend freezing this dish as the consistency of the tomato will change too much. It’s important that the tomatoes are firm, even a little under ripe which is best for stuffing.

Is this recipe Italian?

Yes, stuffed baked tomatoes are Italian and enjoyed worldwide for an easy lunch or dinner.

Variations for How to Make Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

As with most of my recipes, I encourage you to make these recipes your own. Use my recipe as a guideline and if you like it as is, great! If you want to make modifications so the recipe works for you, then try it!

Just do me a favor and let me know what you think in the comments below and if you made any changes that worked for you. I love to hear how my readers run with these recipes. 

Here are some other ingredients you can use in your baked tomatoes mixture:

  1. Capers
  2. Olives (black, green, or kalamata)
  3. Spring onion
  4. Use a mix of both tuna and chicken
  5. Herbs such as basil or oregano
  6. Extra breadcrumbs for the stuffing
  7. Cream cheese blended with the tuna

What to serve with Stuffed Baked Tomatoes?

This recipe can be used as a main dish, light lunch or even a side dish depending on the occasion. Here are some different ideas for complementary dishes.

Garlic bread is easy to make. You can even buy some from the store pre seasoned. The flavor of the garlic goes great with the baked tomatoes, especially since we don’t use garlic in the stuffing mixture.

midnight pasta

Midnight Pasta is an incredibly easy dish you can use because it’s so simple and uses few ingredients, making it a perfect pasta recipe that won’t overshadow the tomatoes. In fact, you could serve the baked stuffed tuna tomatoes on top of the pasta and mix it all together!

antipasto recipe

Antipasto salad is a good appetizer to use before serving your baked tomatoes. The Mediterranean flavors will blend perfectly.

Check out more Italian side dish recipes.

Similar Recipes

If you like this type of tomato recipe, you might also want to check these out too.

farro stuffed peppers th

Italian farro stuffed peppers is an easy and healthy dish. You can use beef in the mixture or go vegetarian without it!

italian stuffed zucchini boats

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Veggies is a similar recipe where we stuff the zucchini with a flavorful Italian mixture and bake them.

how to make stuffed mushrooms

Stuffed Italian mushrooms are easy and make a perfect appetizer or side dish. They are loaded with flavor – you’ll love them! They only take 30 minutes or so to bake.

Italian tuna pasta salad

If you love tuna, then try my Tuna Pasta Salad recipe – it is like an Italian tuna casserole – but easier! No baking required.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for my Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Tuna recipe. Please make sure to let me know how you make it your own using the comments below!

stuffed baked tomatoes th

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Tuna

This easy baked stuffed tomatoes recipe is an easy lunch or light dinner.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Equipment

  • medium saute pan
  • baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 large slightly under ripe tomato, hollowed out with pulp set aside
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil used throughout the recipe for oiling the pan, drizzling on the tomatoes, and sautéing the onions
  • 1/2 cup white onion chopped fine
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, plus some to top tomatoes
  • 1 can tuna drained
  • dash salt and pepper optional

Instructions

  • Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp. Strain the pulp and set aside in a medium mixing bowl.
  • In a saute pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Meanwhile, add the chopped parsley, chopped anchovies, tuna, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper if using to the bowl with the tomato pulp and mix.
  • Add the tomato and tuna mixture to the onions on the stove and saute for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, oil the bottom of the baking pan with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.
  • Remove the mixture from the stove and stuff the tomatoes with this mixture.
  • Place the stuffed tomatoes in the baking pan and top with the breadcrumbs you set aside earlier.
  • Drizzle or brush the tops of the tomatoes with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Bake in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes, making sure the sides of the tomatoes are still firm when you remove them. You don't want to overcook the tomatoes.
  • Best if served warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • For more servings, just double the recipe as needed. 
  • Try to use slightly underripe tomatoes as these will hold their form well.
  • Sautéing the onions is important for two reasons. First, cooking them in the olive oil adds a nice flavor to them, and secondly, we do not want uncooked onions in the stuffed tomatoes. This helps ensure the onions are fully cooked and not crunchy when the tomatoes are done baking.
  • If the breadcrumbs do not appear to be crispy, simply broil for 1 minute.
  • You can save a step by simply mixing the ingredients in the bowl then adding the sautéed onions rather than cooking all the mixture over the stove. I like to cook everything over the stove just to help blend the flavors before baking. However, technically you don’t have to do this extra step.

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with TunaStuffed Baked Tomatoes with Tuna

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